$6 Pallet Compost Bin

I write a guest blog, Hey Neighbor, for Dwell Denver Real Estate once a month. This was June’s post.
Hey Neighbor,
What has two thumbs, 12 chickens, and more poop than she knows what to do with? This girl!
Urban farming has been an adenture so far. Harder than I anticipated when reading about it, but more gratifying than I could have imagined when I see our hand-raised chickens scratching for bugs, or the bees coming and going at the hives by the dozen. Lately we’ve turned our attention to waste, both the noun and the verb. 
The chickens are great garbage disposals and save a lot of food scraps from the trash. But once they process said scraps, there is a different kind of waste to deal with. Since I’d love to divorce myself from buying big box garden soil, a compost bin was the logical conclusion. And then I priced them. Yeah…After building a 200-square-foot chicken palace out of cedar, we were a little short on farm funds.
So, I hightailed it to my local feed store. I purchased used wooden pallets for $2 each. I saved myself $94 and saved the wood from the trash heap.
The fastest way to compost, besides having a huge pile of grossness rotting somewhere in the yard, is a three-sided bin with no top, no bottom, and plenty of air and moisture. Our perfect pallet composter was assempled and in use in under 10 minutes. 
Think you need 5 acres in the country to be able to compost? Think again. We are lucky and can hide the compost bin in the trees, but we’ve seen bins stashed at the side of the house, in a corner of the yard, hidden by bushes, painted to match the lawn furniture, and right smack next to the garden in all its rotten glory. 
Composting is easy, and virtually smell-free, if a few basic rules are followed:
1. Try to keep a 3:1 browns to greens ratio. 
  • Browns (carbon rich): dead leaves, small animal bedding, cardboard, newspaper, dead flowers and plants, sawdust, straw.
  • Greens (nitrogen rich): manure, grass clippings, fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds.
  • Do not compost meat, bones, cooked foods, cat litter – when in doubt use common sense. Or Google. 

2. Shred large materials for faster breakdown. For example, run the lawn mower over a pile of raked leaves before adding to the bin.
3. Add moisture. The best description I’ve heard is that the compost should be as saturated as a sponge that has been wrung out.
4. Turn compost weekly. 
5. When the compost is dark brown and smells like soil it’s ready for the garden!

Good luck on this next project, neighbor! If I can do it, you can do it. Go forth and biodegrade! 

1 thought on “$6 Pallet Compost Bin”

  • I can't believe how much the chickens have grown. I love following all of your projects and seeing the progress in person. I'll just have to remember to stand upwind from now on.

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